Richard Epstein: 'More Probable Than Not…Total Number of Deaths at Under 50,000'

The worst-case scenarios projecting millions of deaths don't take into account adaptive behaviors.


From the available data, says New York University law professor Richard Epstein, "it seems more probable than not that the total number of cases worldwide will peak out at well under 1 million, with the total number of deaths at under 50,000…In the United States, if the total death toll increases at about the same rate, the current 67 deaths should translate into about 500 deaths at the end."

In the latest Reason Interview podcast, Epstein, who is also a fellow at the University of Chicago's Center for Clinical Medical Ethics and a podcaster and columnist at Ricochet, explains his math, which draws on his work dealing with the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and '90s. He also tells Nick Gillespie that the stimulus plans being floated are unlikely to help the economy in the short run and cause major problems in the long run, why he thinks local and state governments are overreacting by shutting down businesses and schools, and why he expects the crisis to ease up in a few months.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Photo credit: Richard Epstein speaks during the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty, Niklas Halle'n/Newscom

Related articles:

"Coronavirus Isn't a Pandemic," Richard Epstein, Ricochet

"Avoid Redistribution Schemes To Limit Coronavirus Fallout," Richard Epstein, Las Vegas Review-Journal

The Libertarian podcast archives, Ricochet